For our 10 year anniversary trip we wanted an adventure and an escape from our busy lives. We had planned, postponed and changed plans a handful of times due to kids, work and different commitments that had come up and honestly we almost just threw in the towel and canceled all together. There is ALWAYS something, right?
We decided that flying was risky with cancelations being so unpredictable so the next best place to find adventure and solitude was the mountains. We have been to the Smokey Mountains with the kids several times and love it so we wanted to explore something new. The Ozarks it was! We figured since it was a 13 hour drive South West that the color would still be beautiful, we would escape the Cold that Michigan has in store for us and find adventure in new terrain. Well, we DID find the adventure but we didn’t escape the cold or see the vibrant color. At first we were disappointed knowing that we were literally a week to late but what can you do?
Regardless of the lack of color it was beautiful scenery. The views were breathtaking and my very favorite hike was the Big Bluff Goat Trail. That trail was the most intense to hike but had the best view of our entire trip. I am however grateful we hiked that trail on the LAST day and not the first. The elevation change was intense and we read it was like hiking up to the top of the golden gate bridge. We passed an elderly couple, probably in their late 60s, rocking that trail and we are totally inspired to live our best lives and be just like them! We also hiked the Hawksbill Crag, Tabletop Rock Lakeshore and the Kings bluff trail.
I would say that as far as kid friendliness goes the Smokey Mountains are better because of the well marked and defined trails, access to Restrooms as well as cleanliness of those bathrooms. In the Smokey Mountains you are close to hotels/Food/Stores. We were at least an hour from the nearest town and there was a small convenience station with some supplies 15-20 min from our trail head. I would go back in a heartbeat but I wouldn’t take the kids until they are in late Middle School/ High School.
The trip was amazing and we are excited to return and hike more of the Ozark Trails.